"And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God"
-- Micah 6:8

"The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."
-- American Bar Association Standard 3-1.2(c)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
--Pope Benedict XVI, June 2004

Friday, September 29, 2006

First Jewish African American Senator?

With all the hubaloo over George Allen regarding his choice of vocabulary and his religious heritage, does it strike anyone else as odd that the dems are accusing him of being racist and anti-semitic when:

1) Allen is in fact an African American, since his mother is a native of Tunisia; and last time I looked, Tunisia is situated in Africa.

2) Allen is ethnically Jewish, since his mother is or was Jewish, and as we all know, Jewish-ness traditionally is held to descend matrilineally.

I don't get it. Either Allen is a basket case of self-loathing psychoses, or the dems are just full of bull.


123txpublicdefender123 said...

Tom, are you being sarcastic in this post or just completely missing the point? Allen's mother is from Tunisia, so that means he can't be racist towards black people? Weren't all the South Africans who constructed and maintained apartheid African, too? That doesn't mean they weren't racist. We're talking abotu skin color here, not what continent you hail from.

On the issue of his Jewish heritage, you baffle me. The issue became an issue because, when a reporter asked him about his Jewish heritage, he seemed to bristle with disgust. And called being asked about having Jewish heritage casting "aspersions." Jewish people (and others, certainly), unsurprisingly, didn't like the fact that Allen would think being asked to discuss his Jewish heritage was an insult and something he didn't appear to want anyone to know a damn thing about.

Tom McKenna said...

I'm only being slightly sarcastic. The whole nonsense about "hyphenated-American" is silly because among other reasons, as this example shows, the category of "African" is broader than just black people. If, as you say, skin color is the "issue," then "black" is the proper descriptive. So yes, I'm poking fun at our politically correct incorrect use of language.

As to the Jewishness issue, it seems everyone views that video clip of Allen being indignant about the religion question through their own ideological prism. I personally saw someone who was irritated not by being "accused" of being Jewish, but by what he thought was an irrelevant question. This is supported by his subsequent comments to the effect that "this is America; we don't have a religious test,etc., etc."

I didn't see him recoiling from the idea of being Jewish, and indeed, since he knew he was of that heritage, I can't imagine why, unless he's unhinged, it would matter to him if anyone else knew. Except maybe that he promised his mom he would not publicize it. If anyone wants to make that into some dark conspiracy against the Jews, fine, but I just see it as a mountain from a mole hill.

123txpublicdefender123 said...

I think the problem a lot of Jewish people had with Allen's reaction is 1) that he described the question as an "aspersion," like bringing up someone's Jewish heritage is saying something bad about them, and 2) that he did not seem to want anyone to know that he had Jewish heritage. Whether he personally was ashamed of his Jewish heritage, he didn't seem to want other people (maybe other people in his state who wouldn't be inclined to vote for anyone with any Jewish blood in him) to know about it.

And this isn't about any kind of religious test. It is not unusual for a reporter to ask a candidate about their ethnic or religious heritage and what effect, if any, that has had in shaping their lives and their political views. Allen has certainly not been reluctant to talk about how his Christianity influences his policy positions. This was a perfectly reasonable question, and Allen's crazed-out response to it was troubling to a lot of people. I can't blame them.

Ken Lammers said...


Go watch it again (it's on YouTube).

Listen to the question again. First she links this unconnected issue to the whole macaca silliness; next, she sets up the question in a manner which first implies he is hiding the fact he has Jewish ancestry; finally, she tops it all off by strongly implying he is denying his grandfather "for whom he is named." The question is phrased in a manner which is purposefully insulting.

I don't think the question had one bit of relevance. However, let's assume it did. If the question was meant to elicit information rather than ambush Allen and score points against him, why not phrase the question like this: "Senator, it's been widely reported that your grandfather was Jewish. Is this true and how does this affect your perspective?"

He finishes with "And I'll say one other thing. Preserving our foundational values and one of those values is freedom of religion and not making aspersions about people because of their religious beliefs."

Personally, I think that was a BS political statement of the kind politicians throw out every day. Everybody agrees that proposition A is good so Politician states that proposition A is good and that anyone violating it is bad. I think it's pretty obvious from his body language and tone of voice.

Still, even if you think he meant something by what he said it doesn't translate as "How dare you call me a Jew!" I translates as "How dare you infer that I am less because I am Jewish!"